Welcome to Seiyu Spotlight where we worry about my obsession with voice actors and actresses and fanboy over them. We can’t talk about Seiyus, or voice actors, without first introducing Yoshitsugu Matsuoka. If you watch Shonen anime, you are sure to have heard his voice. He is most known as the voice of Kirito from Sword Art Online, Sora from No Game No Life, and Soma from Shokugeki no Soma. In short, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka is the epitome of the courageous Shonen male protagonist.
= Main Roles =
The biggest roles Yoshitsugu Matsuoka plays are confident and powerful male protagonists in action Shonen series, such as Kirito from SAO, Sora from NGNL, and Soma from Shoukugeki. Outside of these popular series, I have found him playing other main protagonists in shorter series such as Bell from Danmachi, Yuu from Juuou Mujin no Fafnir, Tomoya from Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, Sorata from Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, and Arata from Trinity Seven.
If there’s anything his main roles have in common, it’s that they are all power fantasy characters. In other words, his voice fits a confident, masculine, and attractive personality. Hence, many of his main roles are in harem or Shonen romance shows (not to be confused by more mature romance genres) where it is pretty obvious just how badass his character is. While his voice is distinct, he is the main protagonist of so many Shonen anime that they start to become one and the same. When every character he voices acts and looks like Kirito as a generic male hero, I guess that hero succeeds in being another Kirito clone. Too bad Kirito isn’t that interesting to begin with.
= Secondary Roles =
It is a shame Yoshitsugu Matsuoka gets shoehorned as the “cool guy” in so many series because his performances on other types of characters are top notch. To see my favorite character of his, look no further than Re:Zero‘s Betelgeuse Romanee-Conti.
Yoshitsugu Matsuoka plays the madman extremely well. Betelgeuse is all crazy all the time, but the seiyu’s talent for insanity surfaces every once in a while in his other roles, such as Kirito’s bursts of rage, or when he voices an antagonist such as Shizuya Kirihara from Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry and Teruki Hanazawa from Mob Psycho 100 (actually, Yoshitsugu Matusoka also voices the student council vice-president Tokugawa in that show too). These characters are often over-dramatic and cocky, letting Yoshitsugu Matsuoka do some crazy voice acting. His yelling is quite visceral, I must say.
In closing, if you enjoy some of Yoshitsugu Matsuoka’s main roles, look at some series where he plays a supporting role. It’s in the smaller roles that he has greater freedom to showcase his artistic talent and it’s those I personally enjoy the most. I would avoid any smaller Shonen series with him as the main lead though as they tend to be the generic harem or action anime that really isn’t worth your time. Except Danmachi. Danmachi is pretty good.